Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ice Dragon/Tentacle Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with both ice Dragon and Tentacle these days?
We've been very busy making new material for the next Ice Dragon album. It's some of the best recording we've ever done, but without sounding too sterile and "studio"-ish. Trying to finish up vocals and bells and whistles now, as long as those go smoothly it should be ready in a month or two. I'm taking my time on the mixes, trying new things, weirdo stuff, etc. We have riffs and lyrics kicking around for the next Tentacle project, but realistically I don't know if we'll start working on that until the fall. But you never know, we may get in a bad mood one of these nights and lay something heavy down. 

2.How would you describe the musical sound of both bands and also how do they differ from each other?
Tentacle was meant to be very "doom" from the get go and we're going to keep it that way. We basically wanted to get a little more experimental and psychedelic with Ice Dragon so we figured we'd have Tentacle as our outlet for the heavy downtuned stuff. I wait until I'm in a really shitty mood to do the vocals and I can get out all my aggression. Ice Dragon is meant to be a bit more "rock", not so gloomy doomy, and we do whatever the hell we want, stylistically. 

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with both bands?
I guess a lot of the lyrics are the sort of introspective, troubled mind kind of stuff. Why are we here, and why does everything suck so bad, that kind of thing creeps in there a lot. But then there's the nice songs about love and ladies and nature, sometimes you need to have a few of those too. I try to stay away from doing too much of the fantasy stuff in the lyrics, songs about wizards and witches and shit, but they can work well if not done too often and placed right. I'll write four or five songs in a few days and then maybe nothing for a month, or switch to another project with a different theme and try that out for a while instead. It's usually easiest when we already have an overall idea for the album, not necessarily a "concept", but at least a rough idea on what the lyrics should be like. Then I know to go heavy on the moody brooding, or throw in some psychedelic love vibes. 

4.With Tentacle you cover a lot of Lovecraft themes, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this author?
It doesn't really get any better in terms of creepiness. He has this sort of outcast, outsider feel to everything he does and I really appreciate that as well. There are things he writes about so well that you would think only someone who actually experienced them could do so. And maybe he did. "Pickman's Model" might be slightly autobiographical... who knows. Most people into heavy music dig Lovecraft, and a lot of bands have songs based on works of his. I don't really like the idea of having a song based on one story though, or named specifically after it, so I tried to make my lyrics a bit "inspired by" and not so strict with one story or another. An homage of sorts. 

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the names 'Ice Dragon' and "Tentacle'?
I suppose there really isn't much meaning in either of them. Ice Dragon is one of those names where you tell it to people and they either go "Whoa! That's a killer name" or "Ice Dragon? Are they power metal? Sounds lame". But we've grown into it at this point. The original thought was that it would be cool to find an old record in a thrift store with a name like Ice Dragon on it. I'd be psyched to find that. Tentacle is in keeping with the whole Lovecraftian vibe for that band, pretty straightforward I guess. And it's a one word name that sounds cool and hadn't been taken yet. 

6.What are some of the best shows that you have played with both bands and also how would you describe the stage performance of each project?
Well, Tentacle hasn't actually played any shows yet but we're definitely into the idea and may get around to it soon. Ice Dragon played a lot of shows early on and now we hardly play out at all. The best one we've ever done was at The Middle East Upstairs, which is a club in Cambridge, MA near us. The sound was perfect and we actually had good, working monitors. For once. There's a live version of "Aquageddon" floating around on the nets from that show. We had our drummer out in front and I stood behind him, I'd like to do that again for the next show. 

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Not really. We've never been much of a live band, and as we get older have less and less interest in it. I'm sure there will a few shows here and there and we'll try our best to make them memorable. 

8.Recently PRC Music has re-issued albums from both bands, what are your thoughts on the final product?
It's amazing to finally have all these albums released, and together all in one place is even better. PRC did a great job on the layouts too. Funny thing is we have so many digital releases and I don't even own an mp3 player. Haha. I have an old flip-phone that only makes calls, and don't have an "i" anything. I still play cd's, records, tapes, you name it. I like the act of picking out an album, opening it up, and inserting into a player. Call me old fashioned. There's a certain "fixed" feeling to it, like you're in it for the whole album. You're not going to skip around and cut songs off halfway through like the kids do nowadays. Anyway, we're very psyched on the releases through PRC, a huge thanks to them for finally getting these out. 

9.With Ice Dragon you have participated on a lot of split albums, out of all the bands you worked with on this splits, which one did you enjoy the most?
Hm. That's a tricky one. The only band that we technically "worked with" was Pilgrim I suppose. I recorded both of our tracks at Ron's Wrecker Service, they came over one weekend and got wasted and we BBQ'd. It was great. I wish every time we did a split we could have the other bands over to hang out. The other two were with bands that don't live near us, Kroh from England, and Fellwoods from Portland OR. The Kroh split came out real cool, Devizes put it out and they did a killer job on the vinyl and layout. The Fellwoods split was supposed to get a release through Svart, but I'm sure what the hell happened there. It's a bummer because that's one of my fav songs of ours and their track rips. Maybe one day someone will release it, the art is insanely cool too. Oh well. 

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to both bands by fans of doom, sludge and stoner metal?
We're all amazed at how well it's been received. Especially some of the newer stuff that is more psychedelic and pop/rock sounding, I think our fans have been very open minded to it all, which is really refreshing. Good tunes are good tunes, regardless of genre, but sometimes people get hung up on that. The doom/sludge crowd is definitely into the Tentacle stuff, and we've had some amazing reviews for it. I think if Tentacle wasn't an "Ice Dragon side project" then people would dig it a lot more actually. C'est la vie. 

11.When can we expect new material from each band and also where do you see the projects heading into musically doing the future? 
Ice Dragon should have a new album done in a month or so, roughly. It's a weird one, but it rocks. Probably going to get weirder and more Rock-ish with the ID stuff in the future and heavier with Tentacle. May be a bit longer for something new from Tentacle, but it'll happen this year most likely. 

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have influenced the music of both bands and also what are you listening to nowadays?
We all love 60's and 70's rock, and a lot of the pop/psych stuff from that era as well. It's funny because basically that's what we're trying to do but it ends up not sounding a whole lot like that stuff because all of our influences get in there and change it around. I have no idea how we even got around to making the Tentacle stuff to be honest, that one still surprises me. I listen to a LOT of different music from different genres and time periods, so it's hard to really pin it down to a few. The other day I was in a bad mood and played all my Napalm Death tapes in a row, then right after listened to the Bee Gees. Haha. 

13.How would you describe your views on Occultism?
I dabble. I'm more into the 70's boobie movie style of occultism, like weird outfits and dancing around to bongo music while someone says cool shit in a deep voice. Candles and witches, magic daggers and spellpouches. Stuff like that. I don't really get the dudes who try to pretend like it's all super serious and worry about pronouncing demon names right or memorizing stuff. Most of those guys have never even been in a fight and live with their moms. Can you imagine if a demon actually materialized in front of them? Haha. Poke Runyon movies are awesome, I love those. And Simon: King of the Witches, he's the kind of occultist I can get behind. 

14.What are some of your non musical interests?
I like messing around with electronics a bit, I've built more than a few oddball music-related things. Synths, pedals, studio stuff. I really like working on old cars, but lately I've been too broke to have a good project. There's nothing like getting into a greasy old jumper, drinking a few beers and turning wrenches. I like the shitty cars that no one wants, crappy old 70's stuff with straight/slant sixes and a dent in the door. That's my style. Movies are kind of a passion of mine as well. I have an insanely huge VHS collection, mostly old stuff, B movies. Joe just gave me both of the Dr. Phibes movies on vhs, that was awesome of him. We got to be extras in a new animated film coming out soon from Gorgonaut too. It's going to be insane. I got to stab one of the directors in the neck and everything. 

15.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Always drink upstream from the herd, don't squat with your spurs on, and lettin' the cat outta the bag is a lot easier than puttin' it back in. 

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